He presents himself as "a militant publisher", a quietist retiree from National Education who prefers to defend his ideas in his books rather than with weapons.
But for anti-terrorism justice, Jean-Pierre S., 76, is much more than that: a former founding member of the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) in the 1970s, he is suspected, out of nostalgia, of having reconnected with the clandestine struggles of the past to claim the independence of Corsica.
On December 11, 2020, the septuagenarian was released from Fresnes prison (Val-de-Marne) after two months in pre-trial detention, weakened by a hunger strike.
He had the support of a large collective of citizens on the island, who saw him as a "political prisoner", 50 local mayors and even presidents of the executive council and the Assembly.
For the "decolonization" of Corsica
In this anachronistic affair, but illustrating the deep identity tensions in Corsica, Jean-Pierre S. has been indicted since October 10 along with eight other men aged 23 to 73, in particular for "terrorist association" and "destruction of well in relation to a terrorist enterprise ”.
Three are still imprisoned.
The suspects would be behind the mysterious commando which announced, during a clandestine conference in the woods of Castagniccia on September 27, 2019, the surprise reconstitution of the FLNC on the basis of its historical manifesto of 1976. Either the main branch of the ultranationalist movement Corsica, which had yet announced in 2014 to lay down its arms after 40 years of bloody attacks.
Threatening to use “force” again, these militants in black paramilitary outfits, hooded and armed had made radical demands for “decolonization”: prohibition of non-Corsicans from acquiring real estate, appropriation of jobs from “foreigners” , drastic limitation of tourism, compulsory learning of the Corsican language from kindergarten… Their slogan: “A liberta oa morte” (
freedom or death, Editor's note
In 2019, the FLNC announced its desire to "save the Corsican people from a programmed disappearance".
PHOTOPQR / CORSICA MORNING / MAXPPP
They then resurfaced during a public meeting in a convent on July 14, 2020 to claim their first violent action: shots against the Montesoro gendarmerie barracks in Bastia perpetrated the previous night.
What had pushed the national antiterrorist prosecution (Pnat) to seize all the facts.
Links with the original FLNC
In their summary report, the police officers from the anti-terrorism sub-directorate (Sdat), who were involved in the investigation with the PJ and the gendarmes from the Ajaccio research section, designate Jean-Pierre S. as "the ideologue" of this new small, independentist armed group, having gathered around it "zealous executors".
Presented as a "tutelary and charismatic figure", a "propagandist of the separatist cause", he is the only one of the nine suspects to have links with the original FLNC, of which he was the co-editor of the founding program of 1976. The eight others are unknown to the counterterrorism services.
The investigations reveal that the septuagenarian organizes in all duplicity the appearances of the armed commando by using his political influence.
Officially, Jean-Pierre S. leads on the island "the Consulta nazionale", a citizen collective of ideas where the institutions and autonomy of Corsica are discussed.
But by the admission of one suspect, this popular movement is in reality "the proper showcase of the armed wing of the FLNC".
Thus, during a secret meeting in a remotely monitored parking lot in the summer of 2020, the investigators heard Jean-Pierre S. and his accomplices talking about weapons and equipment with a view to staging a muscular intrusion of the commando to a political assembly organized by the retiree at the Saint-Antoine-de-Casabianca convent.
Police officers also note semantic similarities between the militant writings of the septuagenarian and the propaganda of the neo-FLNC.
All the more disturbing as Jean-Pierre S. has just published a book, under the pseudonym "Andria Costa", the cover of which is rightly illustrated ... by a photo of the underground conference of Castagniccia.
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Placed in custody, Jean-Pierre S. denies being the leader of this new FLNC, although he admits to being in contact with its members and knowing their identity.
Claiming a simple role of "thinker", he assures not to endorse violence but ends up legitimizing "the clandestine struggle", "historically accepted for 50 years".
Before the anti-terrorist judge, the former teacher judges that France is committing "a crime against humanity" in Corsica, by carrying out "a cultural submersion of its identity".
"It is hard to die but it is harder to live seeing your people die", launches Jean-Pierre S., in a tribute to the words of a Kanak independence leader.
The investigators have unearthed conversations on Facebook of the pensioner in which he does not hide his contempt for Corsican nationalist elected officials, "not worthy of the Paoline nation [Pascal Paoli, leader of the independent Corsican nation, Editor's note]".
Betrayed by an order on Amazon
Right arm of Jean-Pierre S., a certain Pierre B. is suspected of having been in charge of operational missions within the small group.
This 53-year-old nurse living in Bastia, with a clean criminal record, is described by his comrades in the fight as the most virulent, supporter of violent action for "the safeguard of Corsican heritage".
On eavesdropping, this man in fragile health castigates France, "a country of shit", and the Corsican political class, "representatives of the French colonial state".
In front of the investigators, he admits being the hooded man of the commando who spoke in Corsican, but also his participation in the night attack of the gendarmerie.
Pierre B. betrayed himself by his incredible lack of discretion: he ordered with his own Amazon account the black jumpsuit and the strap of his gun visible on the FLNC videos.
The fifty-year-old also used his personal vehicle to prowl near the Montesoro barracks and carry out a series of “FLNC 76” tags on a shopping center and the treasury of a Corsican town covered by surveillance cameras… “I know he there are other means than these to make ideas known, regrets Pierre B. in front of the examining magistrate.
In any case, I chose the worst [….] I was caught under a political straitjacket by which I let myself be dragged, with regret.
DNA on a leaflet
The antiterrorist police officers had no difficulty either in obtaining the confession of the author of the shootings against the barracks, a man named Thierry D. Member of the commando visible with a rifle, this caregiver in nursing home of 55 years, who holds conspiratorial words against "the Jews who rule the world", explains that he wanted to target "a symbol of the state".
“Afterwards, I have nothing against the gendarmes, I consider my act as a political act,” he proclaims in custody.
Unfortunate detail: the soldiers of the Haute-Corse group, installed in the barracks, discovered the existence of the attack only after its claim by the small group, having heard only a "noise" in the night.
Thierry D. confesses that his weapon, an antique bought "under the cloak of a Maghrebian (sic) 30 years ago", jammed that evening and that he only managed to carry out one. shoot…
Among the other FLNC activists identified is Federicu P., a 25-year-old town hall employee recognized by his own father during the theatrical show of strength at the Saint Anthony Convent.
But also Xavier V., a 54-year-old ex-soldier with the RSA.
His DNA was found on an FLNC leaflet abandoned by the suspects.
Engaged to give credibility to the commando's warlike attitude, he dissociates himself from the armed actions of his colleagues, “the jokers who are in need of pasionarias and want to stand out compared to the people of the village.
While openly expressing its nationalist ideas and its resentment vis-à-vis the French state: "France uses Corsica as an aircraft carrier, it costs a lot of money, but nothing goes in the pockets of the Corsican farmer or baker.
A "list of targets"
Finally, the investigators went so far as to carry out an undercover operation on Facebook in order to unmask the administrator of the "Armata Armata" account [Army, Army, editor's note], which relayed the activity of the neo-FLNC and called for arms against France.
It was run by a 23-year-old plumber, Anthony C. Depressive, fascinated since adolescence by the FLNC which he describes as a “fantasy”, annoyed by the presence of “Arabs” in Corsica, the young activist says he has given up the last minute to join the commando because of the violent turn of events.
He was replaced at a moment's notice by Denis-Ange T., a 73-year-old retiree who wears "Yvan Colonna, hostage of the State House" t-shirts.
Originally from Marseille, this former mechanic explains that he wanted to "integrate into Corsican history", complexed to be called "pinsuttu" [French mainland, editor's note] by the islanders.
"I did not understand that I was going to be assimilated to a terrorist, laments the pensioner in police custody.
I left in my bullshit and I should have stayed with my cows and my goats.
According to the investigation, it appears that these backward-looking nationalists were considering a new action in October 2020, the month of their arrests.
Without knowing what kind.
On a wiretap, one of the suspects evokes a "list of targets" established by the FLNC with, "in line of sight", the second home of a famous Parisian journalist on the north-west coast of the island ...